Go frack this poll

The Ventura County Star has a poll up on hydraulic fracturing in California:

How concerned are you about fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in California?

  • I have little or no concern about it.
  • I’m concerned about its effects on water and the environment.
  • I’m concerned about a possible link to earthquakes.
  • I’m concerned that overregulation of it will kill jobs.

Fracking’s increasingly big news in California. My KCET colleague Char Miller has a good California fracking backgrounder here, but the short version is that the fossil fuel industry is eyeing the Monterey Shale, a Miocene marine sedimentary formation thought to hold as much as 15 billion barrels of oil. That’s twice what the Bakken holds in North Dakota. The stakes are high for the oil industry.

I’ve been informed by one of my geopals that the Western States Petroleum Association has quietly put the word out to its fanbase, asking them to swamp the poll. Right now votes of fracking opponents are about equal to those who either support fracking or don’t care, though the way the answers are phrased makes it look like opponents are well ahead.

I suspect there’s a diversity of opinion on fracking here. That’s fine. (Though those of you who disagree with me are wrong.) To its credit, the Star admits it’s a pointless exercise:

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

But the oil lobby does seize on spurious polls like this for PR spin purposes, so whatever your viewpoint, go add some noise to the signal.

An unconstitutional poll

A Republican legislator is trying to give religion yet another special privilege. He wants to insert a provision into a defense bill that says the federal government can ignore the first amendment when it comes to putting up monuments.

“This provision creates a foundation in federal law for emblems of belief on war memorials and monuments,” Hunter said Thursday. “Emblems of belief … should be protected.”

Oh, really? Why? So you can only honor those people who have the right beliefs? What happens when, say, someone puts up a memorial to the Muslims who died in New York?

Go vote on the poll.

Do you think the Federal government should protect historic "emblems of belief" like the Mount Soledad cross?

YES 74%

NO 25%

Shark murder, and a poll

Hey, I was only joking when I said fishing rule breakers ought to be chopped up for shark chum, but some days…this story about fisherman bragging about killing a record 1300 lb mako shark gives me second thoughts. There’s nothing praiseworthy about exterminating a top predator, especially one that doesn’t threaten your terrestrial butt at all.

There is a poll, if you’d like to express your opinion.

Should sharks be protected from fishing?

Yes 86%

No 14%

Weird, twisted anti-choice poll

It’s from Jill Stanek, so of course it’s twisted. She’s upset that people might consider Jimmy Connors, ex-tennis champ, to be a bit of a sleazebag for writing an autobiography that shames ex-girlfriend Chris Everett for getting an abortion. It seems to me that it was Everett’s private decision, and that Connors needs some greater ethical awareness, but Stanek instead wants to shame Everett for an abortion 30 years ago. So she has a poll, apparently expecting that a majority would agree with her idea that outing people who got abortions is acceptable.

So far, it’s not going her way, despite her misleading phrasing that abortion is “killing a child”.

Is it acceptable to out the mother or father of one’s aborted child?

No  50.43%

Yes  49.57%

I wonder if she would consider it legit for a third party to reveal any medical procedure received by a woman?

Climate Change blame poll

The UK needs some help from us. One of their ministers has got some weird ideas about climate change.

The chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee said he accepts the earth’s temperature is increasing but said “natural phases” may be to blame.

Such a suggestion sits at odds with the scientific consensus. One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to warm.

So they’re trying to settle it with a poll.

Are humans responsible for global warming?

Yes – completely  17.46%

Yes – but only partially  28.4%

No – it’s a natural phenomenon  54.14%

You know, that’s a really stupid set of answers that looks like it was intentionally designed to split the vote. “Completely” or “partially”? That makes no sense. If we have an equilibrium situation where heat inputs and losses are balanced, and humans come along and tip that balance, are you just going to say they’re only partially at fault, because the sun is pumping all that energy into the system? It’s silly phrasing.

If Mr Bean visits the grocery store and pulls out the bottom can in a neatly stacked pyramid of canned goods, causing the whole thing to tumble down in a mess, are you going to say he was only partly to blame for the chaos?

I’m not even going to think about the ignorance of the 54%.


Ja, we shall invade this Austrian poll

Hey, I thought Europe was more secular…so why is this poll going the wrong way? Oh, because it’s in Catholic Austria.

In German:

Sollen Kruzifixe aus den Klassenzimmern verbannt werden?

17,68% – Ja, denn Religion soll Privatsache bleiben.

77,04% – Nein, denn das Christentum hat in Österreich jahrhundertelange Tradition.

5,28% – Egal, es liegt sowieso an den Eltern, ihren Kindern Religion nahezubringen.

Auf Englisch:

Should crucifixes should be banned from classrooms?

17.68% – Yes, because religion should remain a private matter.

77.04% – No, because Christianity has centuries-long tradition in Austria.

5.28% – Doesn’t matter, it is up to the parents to bring their children up in a religion.

Can a bunch of Americans reverse this trend? That would be weird.

Malkin’s stupidity is seeping into Iowa soil!

Once again, ignorant people are whining about science. Michelle Malkin’s outrage that the NSF funded research into snail sex is now the subject of a poll in Iowa newspapers.

Is spending $877,000 to help fund a UI study using snails to study the advantages of sexual vs. asexual reproduction a waste of federal money?

Yes. Federal research dollars are becoming more scarce and should be used for more valuable work. 25%

No. I agree with the researchers who say, even though research involves snails, this study has broad implications for humans. 70%

I don’t know. 4%

I detest all of the answers. A) Who are the readers to judge whether this work is valuable or not? Do they have the biology background to understand the significance of the question, have they read the proposal? B) Why is it being framed in terms of “implications for humans”? It’s human self-centeredness that insists everything has to revolve around us…maybe it’s just a really cool question.

But I don’t think $877,000 is at all an unreasonable sum.

Kentucky poll could use your help

It’s very oddly phrased. It’s about educators trying to improve the quality of science teaching, and one choice is to agree, because they need improving…and the other is to disagree, because of this “teach all sides” nonsense they get from organizations like the Discovery Institute. But that’s irrelevant; teaching about evolution and climate change is good science, and they’re correcting an omission of one side, the valid side.

I think it’s a distorted poll, trying to get the knee-jerk positive response to the “teach all points of view!” slogan. It doesn’t look like it’s working, fortunately.

Educators recommend new science standards that include teaching evolution and the effects of humans on climate. Agree?

Yes. Our schools aren’t adequately preparing out students in the sciences. 65.2%

No. How can they adequately prepare students if all points of view aren’t heard? 34.7%

Poll on gay marriage—not on our supreme court case, but in New Zealand

Wait, it’s our Supreme Court that is considering arguments on gay marriage. I guess New Zealanders can also consider it an important issue, but why are they getting is so wrong?

Which of the following best fits your view about marriage law?

It should remain only between a man and a woman. 56%
It should be changed to allow it between same sex couples. 39%
I don’t know/I don’t care. 5%

You know, in ten years people are going to be wondering what the heck was wrong with all the people opposing civil rights.

Prayer poll

Not another one of these — all over the country, towns open their council meetings with pointless prayers, and when someone points out that that is unconstitutional and stupid, they go whining to their local paper or radio station and make an appeal to the Christian sheep in their region. So this is just one out of a multitude, but go ahead, try to wake up the parochial little pissants in Rowlett, Texas.

Should prayer continue before Rowlett City Council meetings?

Yes 69%
No 31%